From lifting the Southern League Championship in 2004, through Conference National success in 2011, a season they reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, losing narrowly to Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford, and promotion to Football League One the following season, the recent history of Crawley Town seems to one where the roads are paved with gold. But through all the success of the past decade and a half, the golden road has been pitted with many potholes. A financial crisis was survived in 2006 when the club was within 60 minutes of liquidation, the club deducted 10 points at the start of the season. Yet somehow, they fought through the following campaign to secure the point they needed to avoid relegation on the final day of that season. In 2010 new investment was pumped into the club thanks to the majority shareholder Bruce Winfield enabling then manager Steve Evans to shell out some eyewatering fees. A complete overhaul of the squad saw 23 players signed over a six-month period including Matt Tubbs, for £70,000, Sergio Torres for a record £100,000, and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed fee, the fee paid was said by some to be a then Conference record of £275,000. Sadly, Winfield passed away shortly before the dream was realised as Crawley clinched the title as they overturned Tamworth 3-0.
The Reds arrived in the Football League like Hell’s Angels at the Vicarage Fete and by the end of 2011 had ascended to the summit of League Two. However, a slump in form and poor discipline saw the leadership slip from their grasp. Evans departed for Rotherham United in April but his former charges managed to stay the pace, eventually finishing in 3rd spot for automatic promotion to League One. Under new manager Richie Barker, the following campaign saw the Reds challenge consistently for the playoffs eventually finishing in 10th spot then 14th the next season despite Barker’s sacking for speaking to Portsmouth about the vacant hot seat at Fratton Park. John Gregory took the reins and steered the club into another comfortable midtable spot. However, the following season was a different tale altogether with Crawley struggling for form throughout. Gregory stepped down due to ill health with Dean Saunders brought in to replace him but though the team showed a late revival in fortunes it was not enough to avoid the drop back to League Two. Despite picked out as a contender for a quick return, an appalling early run of form left the club struggling at the wrong end of the table for the bulk of the 2015/2016 season. New managerial blood came in the form of Dermot Drummy, his footballing doctrine pleasing on the eye to the fans but in the table where it mattered Crawley had another season ended in an ultimately successful struggle to stave off the threat of relegation.
Come the summer and Drummy was bidding farewell to Broadfield with former Leeds United legend Harry Kewell installed in the hot seat come summer. The first Australian to coach a professional English side, Kewell was quick to look for new additions to his squad. New arrivals include experienced central midfielder Dannie Bulman coming in from AFC Wimbledon, French left back Cedric Evina from Doncaster Rovers, right-winger Moussa Sanoh from RKC Waalwijk of the Netherlands, central midfielder Mark Randall from Newport County, attacking midfielder Dennon Lewis formerly with Watford and Dutch striker Thomas Verheydt from MVV Maastricht.
Ooops almost forgot someone there. Along with all those others Crawley Town also swooped on Champion Hill to add Dulwich prodigy Panutche Camara to their summer swag bag. The former Barnsley youngster had caught the eye beyond the close confines of SE22 with some scintillating displays and glorious goals since breaking into the Hamlet first team late in the season. Panutche joins a small and select bunch of players who have plied their trade for both clubs. Most recently Gavin Tomlin made the move from Crawley to Champion Hill whilst turn the clock more than a decade and the legendary name of Peter Garland springs to mind. A place in Dulwich folklore will always be reserved for a player whose skills, humour and audacity have never been matched in the modern era of the Hamlet. A goal from the halfway line on his debut on a paddy field of a pitch at Gravesend and Northfleet set the standard for a Dulwich career that will live long in the memory of those privileged enough to witness it.
This game takes place on TUESDAY 18th July, kick off time 7.45 pm, at Champion Hill Stadium, Edgar Kail Way, LONDON SE22 8BD
- £11 for Adults
- £5 for Concessions and Dulwich Hamlet 2017/2018 Season Ticket Holders
- NB: Concessions cover Seniors - 60+, Teenagers (13-19), Unemployed (JSA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), NHS Staff, Blue Light Services, Serving Members of the Armed Forces and Full Time Students. (Please bring a form of valid ID for your concession as you might not be admitted without that)
- Under 13s FREE accompanied by a paying adult
Tickets can be purchased on line via SEE Tickets by clicking here
Updated 16:53 - 15 Jul 2017 by Paul Griffin